Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Chinese Red Envelopes

How else to cement Guanxi?

Red envelopes have become the primary way of offering "tips" (or bribes) to people in China.

China’s Communist Party officials warned of perils of accepting virtual red envelopes
While exchanging virtual red envelopes over the Spring Festival holiday is now commonplace among Chinese friends, families and workmates, a report in a provincial newspaper has warned Communist Party officials to think carefully before accepting such digital gifts.

According to an unidentified policy and regulatory official from the disciplinary inspection commission in central China’s Hubei province, cadres should “be careful” when receiving red packets online, Hubei Daily reported on Thursday.

Receiving and sending virtual red packets during the festive season is a good way to strengthen ties with family and friends, but for party cadres the tradition could also result in a conflict of interest, the official said.

“No matter what the amount is, a discipline violation could be just fingertips away,” he said…

Although there are no fixed limits on the value of gifts officials are allowed to receive, the Hubei anti-graft watchdog said the contents of a red packet should never exceed what might be considered a reasonable amount…

Digital red envelopes made their debut in China in 2014, after being introduced by technology giant Tencent, which owns WeChat, the country’s largest social networking app. They soon became a hit with consumers, and other companies followed suit…

According to Tencent, during the Lunar New Year holiday in 2016, 516 million people gave and received 32 billion digital red packets via WeChat…

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